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THE

SILVERY C R O C U S CROCUS

BIFLORUS

MILLER

IN SUFFOLK F . W . SIMPSON

THIS charming little crocus with its small pale purple flowers with three stripes of dark purple on the backs of the outer perianth segments, grew abundantly in an old grassy pasture attached to White House Farm, Grundisburgh, more especially around its margins, and must have existed there for several centuries. Another site, of which I was quite unaware, was in the neighbouring parish of Clopton: this was also an old pasture. Both habitats have unfortunately been ploughed up. It was always to be found flowering during the last week of February and the first week of March. Three corms were replanted in the autumn of 1972 by Mrs. E. Dickson and Mr. P. J . O. Trist in its original site at Grundisburgh. These were taken from the small colony preserved in Mrs. Harris' cottage garden opposite. One corm flowered in March, 1973, and it is hoped that by protecting plants during spraying that the reintroduction will succeed. Crocus purpureus Weston—Purple C r o c u s During enquiries to locate further sites of C. biflorus, Mr. R. Rolfe of Palgrave reported that a meadow at Wortham had an abundance of crocuses in early spring. T h e species was identified as C. purpureus, which was thought to be extinct in the county. Hind's Flora records it at Barton and Beccles; it was formerly abundant in the meadows of the Waveney Valley at Mendham, Long Lane, near Harleston, Norfolk, where it had been recorded for over 200 years and seen by many botanists until 1937. The Wortham meadow was sprayed a few years ago and it was thought that all the plants had been destroyed. However, a few survived and a flower was sent to me by Mr. Rolfe in 1972, so let us hope that this colony can be saved for posterity. Specimens of both C. biflorus and C. flavus from Barton Park are preserved in the Herbaria of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and also the British and Ipswich Museums. These were collected at various dates between 1830-1922. Specimens in the Ipswich Museum were collected by Lady Blake of Great Barton, probably between 1840-50 and by W. M. Hind on 19th March, 1890. From the Grundisburgh site there are specimens in the British Museum collected by Miss Rawlins in 1936. I have examples in my small herbarium, dated March, 1939.


216

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 4

A few corms of C. biflorus from Mrs. Harris' garden were taken during the visit in 1969 by Mrs. Dickson and planted in her garden at Westerfeld. These have survived and flowered. F. W. Simpson, F.L.S., 40 Ruskin Road, Ipswich,

Suffolk.

The Silvery Crocus Crocus biflorus Miller in Suffolk  
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